So, your child has a sore throat, a cough and a sniffle, but no fever. Should they stay home from school? If you send them, will they just be in the nurse’s office an hour later? Or, do you chance it in the hopes that they rally once they get in the groove of classes and the day’s schedule? What if they do have a fever? Is that a deal-breaker? You're probably asking yourself, "When is my child too sick for school?"
It’s imperative that schools control the spreading of infectious diseases so the majority of students are not disrupted from their studies. And, with the flu season upon us, it’s so important parents understand their individual schools' policies when it comes to sending in children who are potentially too sick for school.
As a general rule, your child should stay home from school when:
- They have a temperature greater than 100 degrees. Students typically should be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school and not taking fever-reducing medication to control symptoms.
- They are diagnosed with a strep infection. Students need to be on an antibiotic for a minimum of 24 hours, fever-free and feeling well before returning to school.
- If they have vomited or had persistent diarrhea during the night or in the morning before school.
- If they have a heavy cough, chest congestion or discolored nasal discharge.
- If they have pinkeye (conjunctivitis). Students need to have completed 24 hours of medication, and have no visible redness or discharge before returning to school.
For the health and safety of your child and the other students in his or her class, students should stay home from school until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours.
The above guidelines have been approved by the registered nurses at Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, New Jersey. Your child's school likely has its own health procedures and regulations. As policies vary from institution to institution, please consult your school's handbook for specific information.